Theatre for Development in Communicating Climate Change in Africa

Theatre for Development in Communicating Climate Change in Africa

Nda and Ekong (2012) in their article titled “Communicating Climate Change in Africa through the Theatre for Development Process” discussed the value of using theatre for development (or community theatre) in communicating the problem of climate change.

According to the authors, theatre for development “arises out of development communication with the sole intention of giving back the theatre to the people for them to use in communicating among themselves, and with others, discussing and proffering suggestive means of creating better situations for human thrive and continuity” (Nda & Ekong, 2012, p. 440). Because of this, they proposed that it be used as an environmental communication method, particularly in communicating climate change in Africa and the rest of the world.

Using theatre for development in communicating climate change has several benefits (Nda & Ekong, 2012, p. 440):

  • It is the “most democratic of the media of communication open to man” since it “makes provision for the communal creation of the story to be performed, the acting of the story by the people themselves, the employment of improvisational creation of the dialogue by the actors and actresses, the performance of the rehearsed play before a live audience, discussions on the problems put forward through the play and a communal agreement to implement the agreed provisions.”
  • It is not centralised and “is capable of integrating indigenous and popular systems of communication that already exist in the rural areas” (Zakes, 1993 in Nda & Ekong, 2012).
  • It has appropriate technology that is readily available in the villages.

Based on Nda’s (2007) community theatre project in Ikot Ayan Itam, Itu Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria to create awareness on the state of the environment, a model on the utilization of the theatre for development methodology was forwarded.

The full paper is available here.


Nda, U. S., & Ekong, F. U. (2012). Communicating climate change in Africa through the theatre for development process. Ethiopian Journal of Environmental Studies and Management, 5(4), 437-443.

Photo credit: International Climate Initiative (IKI), German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)

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